Rare albino elephant calf on the mend after being ensnared in trap (South Africa)

Jan 31, 2020 | News

By Suthentira Govender, The Herald Live

A rare albino elephant calf is receiving around-the-clock care at SA’s first dedicated elephant orphanage after she was found trapped in a snare with severe injuries.

Four-month-old Khanyisa – meaning “Light” in Shona – is recuperating at Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development (HERD) in Limpopo. “Her wounds indicated that she had been trying desperately to free herself for a few days. She had severe lacerations around the back of her ears and neck that stretched around her mouth and cheeks.

“The top section of her right ear had been sliced off. There was no sign of her herd anywhere,” said HERD in a statement.

She was initially taken to the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary in Mpumalanga, where she was stabilised, before a HERD team transferred her to the sanctuary.

The calf settled in with Lammie, HERD’s resident companion sheep for company. “As an albino, the elephant is more visible in the bush and thus susceptible to attacks by predators. It also means that her eyes are more sensitive to light. However, albino elephants have been known to survive in the wild,” said HERD.

“Three weeks have passed since she has been in our care, and Khanyisa continues to improve each day. Her wounds are healing, her eyes are bright and she is very alert and inquisitive.”

The elephant gained 14kg and now weighs 138kg.

“She is an incredibly brave and resilient little elephant and has captured our hearts and many around the world too.”

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